Mass of letters and the SP confront European Commissioner on situation of truck drivers

8 April 2014

Mass of letters and the SP confront European Commissioner on situation of truck drivers

Truck drivers took up their pens en masse to pressure European Commissioner for Transport Siim Kallas to take action against fraudulent employment practices and exploitation in the transport sector. ‘It’s really worked up a storm,’ said SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong. ‘In a few days I’ve received dozens of letters from truck drivers, not only Dutch drivers, but a lot of others who want to take action against exploitation and job losses in the transport sector. Next week I and other MEPs from all of the European Parliament’s major groups are to meet with Commissioner Kallas, and I’ll hand over the truck drivers’ letters. I believe that the Commissioner is living in an ivory tower and has no idea of the real situations in which these drivers fine themselves. If Kallas reads these letters I find it hard to believe that he’ll carry on dawdling over taking measures.’

Dennis de JongA year ago the SP conducted a survey amongst 3,000 Dutch truck drivers the results of which painted an alarming picture of the transport sector. ‘The tales I’m now receiving are a very personal confirmation of the major problems on the roads,’ says De Jong. One driver for example says that for some weeks he’s been out on the street, after thirty-four years working for the same boss. He was replaced by cheaper drivers from eastern Europe. Another described it as straight-out scandalous that some of these drivers have simply bought their licence and shouldn’t be driving a truck at all. These and other drivers say that control of such practices falls well short.’

Truck drivers in the Netherlands have already begun to take action for an improved Collective Labour Agreement (CAO), but if the Commission does not act, demonstrations in Brussels will follow. ‘The Commissioner will get with these letters the last friendly reminder that he must take measures, but he should know that the truck drivers are sufficiently ready for action to take a trip to Brussels. If he doesn’t want to listen to their complaints, he must be made to feel them.’

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